A **confidence interval** represents a range of values that is likely to contain some population parameter with a certain level of confidence.

This tutorial explains how to plot confidence intervals on bar charts in Excel.

**Example 1: Plot Confidence Intervals on Bar Graph**

Suppose we have the following data in Excel that shows the mean of four different categories along with the corresponding margin of error for the 95% confidence intervals:

To create a bar chart to visualize the category means, highlight cells in the range **A1:B5** and then click the **Insert** tab along the top ribbon. Then click **Insert Column or Bar Chart** within the Charts group.

This will produce the following bar chart:

To add confidence interval bands, click the plus sign (+) in the top right corner of the bar chart, then click **Error Bars**, then **More Options**:

In the window that appears to the right, click the **Custom** button at the bottom. In the new window that appears, choose **=Sheet1!$C$2:$C$5** for both the positive error value and negative error value. Then click **OK**.

This will produce the following confidence interval bands in the bar chart:

Feel free to change the color of the bars as well to make the confidence interval bands easier to see:

The top of the bar represents the mean value for each category and the error bars show the range of the confidence interval for each mean.

For example:

- The mean value for category A is 12 and the 95% confidence interval for this mean ranges from 10 to 14.
- The mean value for category B is 15 and the 95% confidence interval for this mean ranges from 12 to 18.
- The mean value for category C is 18 and the 95% confidence interval for this mean ranges from 13 to 23.
- The mean value for category D is 13 and the 95% confidence interval for this mean ranges from 10 to 16.

**Additional Resources**

An Introduction to Confidence Intervals

How to Calculate Confidence Intervals in Excel

Margin of Error vs. Confidence Interval: What’s the Difference?